Officer to clean up Damilola district

18th May 2001 at 01:00
As a policewoman is stationed at a London school, one in five pupils nationally admits they have gone out armed. Jo Hurst reports.

THE policewoman brought into a London school just half a mile away from the spot where Damilola Taylor was stabbed to death has spoken for the first time about her new role.

Hayley Nunns, aged 36, told The TES she was looking forward to working with the pupils and teachers at Archbishop Michael Ramsay technology college in Camberwell.

She said: "I have spent the past two years working as a homebeat community officer in this area. This is a natural progression for me and I am looking forward to helping pupils become better citizens."

The school, which has been plagued with rising crime, felt the need for full-time police help. Police hope that pupils will report offences directly to WPC Nunns.

Headteacher Wendy Parmley said: "Our school is an oasis of hope, with great pupils and teachers, which is real contrast with the surrounding area.

"Our site is a bit isolated and there are quite a few alleyways outside the school which can make our pupils vulnerable. The most recent incident involved one of my pupils being attacked with a meat cleaver by a complete stranger.

"We hope that by having Hayley on our premises, people will be deterred from thinking that they can come down to the school and attack our kids. We want zero tolerance of street crime."

WPC Nunns, who started at Archbishop Michael Ramsay this week, will be at the school from 9am to 3pm daily. At present she is in plain clothes. From September she will be alternating between uniforms and civvies.

"Being out of uniform will give pupils the chance to see the human side of policing," she said. "When I was a PC I got the chance to spend time with young people in the area. In my new role I will have much more contact with pupils and I will be woring with them on citizenship projects."

WPC Nunns received special training for the role and her job will differ from that of current school liaison officers. She will be on hand for pupils to approach at any time and will have her own office on school grounds.

Pupil Nyrina Brown, 14, said: "It's good to have her in school because we can ask her for advice. When it's dark on the way home children will feel a lot safer."

Security guards have started patrolling a Merseyside school after a teacher was assaulted.

Meanwhile former classmates of Damilola Taylor have spoken out about their distrust of police in a report sent to the Government, the Met, Southwark Council and the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

In interviews with Ian Bosonett, their form teacher at Oliver Goldsmith primary in Peckham, Damilola's 22 former classmates said that because they were black the police didn't care that they lived in fear of being attacked and harassed verbally and physically.

The fear of retribution meant that no one was speaking out about crimes or Damilola's death.

Should police patrol Britain's playgrounds? Have your say


One in four school pupils nationwide says they have committed a crime and one in five says they have gone out armed, new research has revealed.

And out of those excluded from the classroom, 23 per cent claim to have been in possession of a gun in the past year and 44 per cent say they have carried a knife, says the study of 5,263 pupils from 222 secondary schools across England and Wales.

The study, carried out by Mori for the Youth Justice Board, a non- departmental public body set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, also found that dodging fares, scrawling graffiti and shoplifting were the three most common offences committed by the 11 to 16-year-olds quizzed.

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